My cervix isn’t in my neck. Although now I’m not so sure.
So, I found a lump on my neck. It’s probably nothing. Less than nothing, even. I thought about calling to consult one of the two doctors I went on dates with recently, but if I have any hope at all of seeing either one of them again, now probably isn’t the best time to convey that I’m using them for their medical degrees and prescription-writing capabilities. That’s more of a third-date disclosure. Thus, I’ve been spending a lot of time self-diagnosing on the interweb, as I avoid my own doctor like Snooki skirts brain activity because she’s Russian and scary. To be clear, my doctor’s Russian and scary. Not Snooki. She’s Chilean. I’m sad that I know that.
Anyway, every time I see my doctor, no matter what actually ails me, her recommended treatment without fail is to give me a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer and tell me I’m depressed. Last time I went in for an appointment complaining of a rash on my face, and next thing I knew, my feet were in the stirrups and she was apologizing for her chilly hands and writing me a mental-health referral. If I do attempt to get my lump checked out, I’d be all, “OK. So, I have this thing on my neck …” And she’d be like, “Jezzica, ven vas your vlast pap smear?” And I’d say, “Umm. Last year. Maybe? But my neck … it’s sore …” So she’d be like, “I zee. Vee do pap smear now.” And I’d be all, “No, we don’t do pap smear now. We do NECK now.” Except I wouldn’t say that out loud, I’d just let her have her way with me, because I don’t handle confrontation well and did I mention she’s scary? Yeah. I think I did.
I googled “swollen lymph nodes,” because that seems like something that could go wrong with an otherwise healthy and normal neck, and my search led me to this Mayo Clinic page, which indicated I could have strep throat, mono or cat scratch fever. Or, like, cancer and malaria and stuff. I swallowed to see whether I had a sore throat. I wasn’t sure, so I swallowed again. And again. And again. And again. Then I got a sore throat from all the swallowing. I haven’t kissed anyone in months, so mono seems unlikely, although I had it my sophomore year of high school and these lips weren’t kissing anyone then, either. Shocking. I’ll have to call a priest to confirm my suspicion, but I’m guessing immaculately contracting mono twice probably puts me on par with the Virgin Mary. Also, cat scratch fever? Seriously, Mayo Clinic? Teva and Isabel have never been more offended. However, I have to confess it’s always been a dream of mine to come down with a disease that shares the name of a Ted Nugent album.
My co-workers, who take particular interest in my personal failures and prat falls, have really embraced the new me plus lump. My boss Paul has taken to calling me “Lumpy.” And Melanie, who hesitantly agreed to touch it but not before dousing herself in hand sanitizer, has been serenading me with “Lump” by The Presidents of the United States. She was all, “Lump sits alone in a boggy marsh …” And I interrupted, “Boggy marsh is kind of redundant.” And she was all, “Jessica, you know nothing about songwriting.” And I was like, “Oh, excuse me. When did your last album drop? That’s what people in the industry say. Drop.” So she said, “Whatever. Maybe you and your lump should have a reality show.” I was all, “Yes, we *should* have a reality show. It would be called ‘Alone … with cats and lump.’ AWCAL for the acronym. Wait. Are you mocking me?” And Melanie snapped, “I’ve got to get my digs in before you succumb.” She’ll miss me when I’m gone. Now, every night when I leave the newsroom, Melanie says, “Goodnight, Jess. Goodnight, Lump.” It’s like the book “Goodnight Moon” gone horribly wrong. At least one time I thought the lump was going to respond, preferably with something witty or informative, but turns out it was just a burp so that was kind of a letdown. My lump apparently is the strong, silent type.
After further researching the possible cause of Mango – oh, yeah. That’s what I named her. Mango. Because she’s the size of a cherry. But I bumped her up a notch or two on the fruit chain, kind of like how Ben Folds 5 was really a trio but the band wanted to keep its options open because you just never know. I tried to take a photo of Mango and me with my iPhone, but it’s sort of a difficult angle and everything was coming out blurry. Also, no, there isn’t an app for that. Lump Looker? Ode to Node? I could do this all day, Steve Jobs. So I’m all over WebMd and Wikipedia, trying to find a pic and better understand Mango, who’s totally a tough nut to crack, when I came across this diagram:
Huh. Apparently, the neck is home to the inferior and superior deep cervical glands. While I’m seriously skeezed by the words “deep” and “cervical” in the same sentence, this seems to justify my scary Russian doctor’s likely insistence that I need a pap smear for my neck lump. Although now she has *a lot* of explaining to do about her past use of lube and a speculum in a place that was definitely not my neck. Or was it? Maybe all this time I’ve just been talking out of my ass.